Along with Harrison, the Mets are also looking into three other players — free agents Eduardo Nunez, Todd Frazier and Neil Walker — to fill either second base or third base, sources told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
The Mets have had interest in the 30-year-old Harrison for over a month, but both Puma and Rosenthal have said that the club may go with a free agent instead. Rosenthal’s sources said a big reason they may go that route is because they would have to deal outfielder Brandon Nimmo, who is under club control for five more seasons.
However, Harrison seems to make the most sense for the Mets because of his experience, versatility and his contract situation.
Harrison is coming off an All-Star season during which he posted a .272/.339/.432 slash line with a career-high 16 home runs in 542 plate appearances. He served as the Pirates’ primary second baseman, starting 79 games at that position, but he also displayed his exceptional versatility by starting 37 games at third base and six in left field. Harrison also has big-league experience at shortstop and in right field, so he’d be able to slot into most teams’ starting lineups — even those that are already set at second base.
Harrison is also a controllable talent, as he is due to earn $10.25 million in 2018 and has club options for 2019 ($10.5 million) and 2020 ($11.5 million). Those options include a $1 million buyout for 2019 and a $500,000 buyout for 2020.
Harrison has said that he would prefer to be traded to a contender this year after the Pirates dealt both Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen. Outside the Mets, the Yankees, Brewers and Blue Jays have expressed interest in Harrison.